Wendy Pearson and Tom Tuminello were well-versed in workplace safety, but accidents at home left them coping with serious injures after the Jan. 20 ice storm.
Pearson, 43, is an animal control supervisor in Oklahoma City whose job includes helping animal handlers avoid injury.
Tuminello, 49, is an operations specialist for a waste management company. Much of his time is dedicated to keeping employees safe on their truck routes.
Both slipped and fell on the ice at their homes, and Tuminello may have permanently lost the vision in his left eye. Pearson may not be able to return to work for several months, because her ankle was broken in three places.
Emergency workers are warning people to be careful not just when driving during and after the winter storm expected tonight and tomorrow, but also when walking on slippery surfaces. On Jan. 20, Emergency Medical Services Authority crews treated and took to the hospital 64 people who fell on the ice, spokeswoman Lara O'Leary said.
Tuminello had just finished dinner when he stepped out on his backyard deck to put food in his dog's metal bowl. As he bent over to pour the food he slipped on a thin layer of ice he had not even noticed he was standing on. He went down face first, and the edge of the bowl gashed his eye.
“It completely destroyed my left eye,” Tuminello said. “It really did a number on my right eye.”
Tuminello has had surgery on his left eye, but it's not known if he will be able to see out of it again.
“One second of me not thinking and I went down on the deck,” Tuminello said.
He has not yet returned to his job, where he works with data entry on a computer.
“It was completely unexpected,” Tuminello said. “We go through a lot of safety training at work and just that day had been talking about getting cleats for boots for the drivers who jump out of trucks all day.”
Pearson was home on her regular day off. Most of the ice had thawed and the streets were mostly clear when she went outside that afternoon to help her daughter scrap the ice off her car.
On the driveway next to the garage, there was a patch of ice.
“I turned around and stepped on a patch in the shade of the garage eave and fell,” Pearson said.
Pearson's had surgery to repair her thrice-broken ankle bone but will be in a cast for several more weeks and will be off work for two more months.
Pearson said animal control officers often wear ice cleats.
“If I had had my own personal ice cleats on, this could have maybe been alleviated,” she said.